MusselBound Adhesive Tile Mat

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Even though it appeals to DIYers, pros will love the quick and easy approach MusselBound gives to tiling accent areas and shower walls.

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Looking for a product to make your projects easier? MusselBound Adhesive Tile Mat is the latest product in the adhesive tile backer category and offers some benefits over similar products, according to president and technical director Terry Jones. Adhesive tile backers have been touted for their efficiency and cost-effectiveness in tile accent installations, but Jones says MusselBound works to improve on some areas where other products were lacking, primarily their workability. Prior to the adhesive being firmly pressed into place, "you have a lot of forgiveness when it comes to repositioning," Jones says, "both with placing the adhesive on the wall and placing the tile on the adhesive."

Once Musselbound and the tiles are pressed into position, they're not going anywhere. MusselBound has 15 times more shear and peel strength than competitive products and meets industry standards for tile adhesion. Installers and their clients will also appreciate that MusselBound's adhesive is continuous, while others are applied to the tile backer in a pattern, which can result in a minimum tile size limitation. "In some cases, if you're using small tile and it doesn't land right on the pattern, you're out of luck," Jones explains. "With continuous adhesive, you can apply the smallest hand-laid mosaic you'd ever want to try."

Simple Installation

MusselBound and other products in the category open up a world of DIY opportunities for homeowners, but Jones says he's received numerous testimonials from professionals who were wary of the product's too-good-to-be-true allure. "Once they realized that it offers a get-in, get-out solution, especially for small jobs like backsplashes, we got some really positive feedback from the contractor side," he says. The price point didn't hurt either. At about $1.80 per square foot, the material costs slightly more than traditional thinset mortar, but comes with much more convenience and no messy cleanup. The installation is as easy as the website promises: Apply the sheets to the wall, peel off the facing layer, and place the tile. MusselBound is a plain white mat, so it won't affect the look of glass tile, and any grout can be used. The sheets can go directly over a variety of substrates, including existing tile or laminate, so demolition can be all but eliminated in some cases.

MusselBound is ideal for backsplashes, shower walls, countertops, and other accent areas (think stair risers or breakfast bar footrests). However, the 1/32-inch sheets are not leveling materials, so MusselBound is not recommended for use with flooring. The product is available at Lowe's.